White House staffer and all around unpleasant guy Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons) started off as the tall, awkward, overly confident outsider, and the perfect target for all the insults hurled by Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her staff. But over the past five seasons on HBO’s Veep (available to stream anytime on HBO Now), Jonah has somehow managed to become even more of a love-to-hate-him character, a trend that looks to continue given his recent, inexplicable rise in power. Until we see how unbearable Congressman Ryan is when Veep returns, here’s a ranking of every time you (probably) wanted to punch Jonah in the face.
7. “My college friends called me Tall McCartney. I preferred that. That’s a good nickname.”
Starting on the far end of the scale, this might be the moment where most people came closest to feeling just the slightest bit bad for Jonah, who, thanks to a special hearing, is forced to listen to a list of nicknames that Selina’s staff has come up with for him over the years. As he sits there, slowly having his ego chipped away by the chisel of one crafty epithet after another, all he can do when it’s over is sheepishly recall the one not-entirely mean-spirited nickname he was called back in college. At least now Tall McCartney is officially on record.
6. “I work hard. I work fast, and I get hot legs. I say let the whale hang loose.”
Having to work on a Sunday is bad enough, but when Jonah shows up full of newly-minted acronyms, you know it’s about to get worse. After announcing that Selina and her staff need to personally visit a local hospital after an accident on the docks (or VPVP as he so smugly declares it), Mike (Matt Walsh) points out his colorful choice for weekend office wear. Jonah’s response is predictably reprehensible, turning what could’ve been a routine insult into a cringe-worthy response.
5. “I want a job on my own merits, and I think that he’s the guy to get it for me.”
When Jonah is in need of a job — and given how overwhelmingly disliked he is among his former co-workers — he has some trouble locking down any leads. He even goes to his mother (Nancy Lenehan), asking if she’ll talk to his uncle Jeff, a political kingmaker in New Hampshire. It’s one of those moments where you’d almost feel sorry for the guy, but only if that guy wasn’t Jonah Ryan, who reminds us that he has absolutely no concept as to what the word “merit” means.
4. “Maybe I was supposed to learn it in the second grade, but my teacher was a f*cking b*tch!”
Yes, in a moment where Jonah could’ve just tactfully admitted to making a slight geographical error, he really does choose to blame his lack of knowledge on his second-grade teacher, who also happens to be his political opponent. Try and unclench your fist. We’ve still got a few more to go.
3. “Hey, Sue. You got a convenient opening I can slide into?”
Trying to hit on drunk girls is one of the lowest-common-denominator things a guy can do, and after Jonah fails to impress Selina’s daughter, Catherine (Sarah Sutherland), he notices that the usually somber Sue (Sufe Bradshaw) looks the slightest bit tipsy. Being a lowest-common-denominator kind of guy, even as he tries to be charming, he ends up coming off as simply repugnant. Sue being Sue, however, wastes no time calmly and concisely shutting him down, explaining that there “isn’t enough alcohol in the world” to make her interested in him. Of course, Jonah’s sleaziness doesn’t stop there, as he makes one last effort to win her favor by pointing out she didn’t use the word “no,” which Sue then drops decisively as she walks away.
2. “I work in the West Wing, you Pepperidge Farm ad motherf*ckers.”
For a guy that always seems to be the butt of the joke, Jonah has a really hard time sitting back observing the focus group that is critiquing his latest round of political ads. He makes it all of about 45 seconds before bursting into the room like a power-hungry madman, declaring himself their intellectual superior. Honestly, it’s amazing he makes it through the election at all.
1. “How am I doing? Eating so much pussy I’m sh*tting clits, son.”
It’s probably the moment that most personifies who Jonah Ryan is: a man who pauses during a photo op to take a call from a friend, only to then (falsely, we assume) brag about his love life. The best part isn’t even that the moment is caught on camera by Catherine, but the reveal that he says the line in front of a classroom full of elementary students. It’s a monumental, note-perfect testament to the oblivious ego of the endlessly punchable Jonah Ryan.
Honorable Mention: All of Ryantology
Jonah’s short-lived endeavor as a gossip journalist dedicated to topple old-school media outlets like “the Washington Toast” (sick burn, bro) was just one nauseating stream of him proving himself to be the worst human being on the planet. While Jonah was eventually able to slime his way back into the realm of politics after publicly denouncing the internet, we’ll always have his brief, and deeply unsettling, digital legacy to remind us.
Also, don’t forget to check out our exclusive deleted Jonah scenes.